Fri. Feb. 3, 2023: Brrrrrrr!

image courtesy of HANSUAN FABREGAS via pixabay.com

Friday, February 3, 2023

Waxing Moon

Bitterly cold

It is brutally cold out there, and an advisory went out, asking people to stay in unless absolutely necessary. I plan to heed that warning. Power outages are also rolling through, so it could be a cold, difficult weekend. The internet and phone keep going in and out, too.

Meditation didn’t happen yesterday. The leader was away; she’s very organized, but the person who organizes the group at the library doesn’t communicate well enough with the rest of us. This happens too often: we all show up, and then it’s canceled ten minutes in. It’s definitely easier because it’s virtual than if we all drove in and showed up, but it still gets frustrating.

The fourth episode of Angel Hunt drops today.

Yesterday was somewhat of a fractured, fiddly day. I did the social media rounds to promote Legerdemain and to drop the #28Prompts. Spoutible is still having issues, although, by the end of the day, they were claiming (on Twitter) to have fixed them and run faster than Twitter. Like I said yesterday, ballsy of them to openly do their admin on Twitter when they are a competitor, and Yegads Muskrat has worked so hard to prevent people from posting their links to Post or Mastodon. I guess I’ll find out today, when I do today’s rounds, how it’s running.

In the live Q&A pre-launch, they claim they want to support working artists who promote and share information about their work, so we’ll see if that’s the case.

I have to keep reminding myself that Twitter didn’t start paying off in engagement or in boosting sales right off the bat. I grew the audience over years, and continued to grow it. However, in that time lag it takes to grow new audiences and support on other platforms, my income takes a hit. So I have to come up with an interim marketing strategy as I grow on various platforms, and pull back from those who aren’t fulfilling any need (because it’s not all about boosting sales, but there’s no point in continuing to post on sites with zero interaction even on non-marketing posts).

I managed to get through a lot of email and deal with it, but the amount that remains across several inboxes is depressing. However, reading newsletters as palate-cleansers between tasks is working for me better than saving them to batch-read later.

Did some work on the article. Got part of what I needed from MassMOCA very fast, and we’ll see if I need to contact them for more information.

Having conversations about the possibility of a week-long residency in the fall. There are a bunch of pieces that need to fall into place (some of which have nothing to do with me), but if it works out, I’d really like to do it. I have the idea for a project I’d work on during that time, and it would shake up my process and stretch me, so I hope it comes to pass.

One of the handlers at an agency with which I’m signed is pitching me for a 3-month, 20-hour/week gig to a company. The money’s right, and 20 hours works with balancing the rest of what I do. It’s more big corporate than I usually do, but I’m definitely qualified for the work AND would learn a lot AND it’s only three months, which is the kind of thing I’m looking for. I updated my remote cover letter, did a project-specific blurb about my qualifications, updated the marketing portfolio and sent it off. We’ll see where it goes from there. But nothing ventured, nothing gained, and I’m pleased that she thought of me for the slot.

I managed to plant a pot of butterfly-friendly plants (Shasta daisy, Black-eyed Susan, Coneflower) and some of the Bergamot seeds from the local botanical garden, in honor of Imbolc. I have to update this year’s plant journal, and move some of the pages to the big, multi-year binder.

All those little dribs and drabs prevented me from any deep dive writing, and that’s part of what left me feeling unsettled all day. I’m taking note of that, so I can fix it for today and moving forward. A reminder that “oh, it’ll only take 10 minutes” putting a task before the first major writing session of the day often means I lose the day’s writing – because it NEVER takes just 10 minutes.

I’m trying to figure out how to set up my bedroom as more of a sanctuary. The space is fine (I’ll never have a bedroom as big as the one on Cape again, that was an anomaly), the furniture is fine, there’s a limited way to arrange things, but I can do more (on a budget) to make it feel more sanctuary-ish. I just have to figure out what that is. I am not one for a Spartan aesthetic. That stresses me out. I want cozy, warm, texture, books, crystals, soft lighting, etc. Getting a rug in there will help, and I know what I want, but haven’t yet found it (in my price range). Putting up curtains will also help. I have no issue with the blinds up there, but I’m more of a curtain person. Figuring out how to put something on the big wall behind the bed that feels elegant and cozy and doesn’t cause me to lose my deposit will help a lot, too. I have ideas on what I want it to look like; now I have to apply my theatre skills on how to pull it off.

Never let anyone tell you that skills you learn working in theatre are irrelevant in life. It’s simply not true. My theatre training in various aspects has done more to add value to the rest of my life than anything else.

I also need to do some work on my office again, organizing and straightening things out. Juggling projects has gotten a little messy, and I like the office to be tidier.

None of it has to happen all at once; I keep my eyes open for what will work in my price range and keep adjusting.

The weekend is about staying in, writing, reading, working on reviews and contest entries. If scripts come in, I’ll do them, since it was so light this week. Sunday should be warm enough to venture out and go grocery shopping. Next weekend, I might actually go out and do a few things – I’m signed up for a meditation session at my yoga studio, and I’m invited to an artist talk. The risk assessments and safety measures in place seem to work for both.

Have a good one!

Thurs. Feb. 2, 2023: Blessed (Cold) Imbolc

image courtesy of NoName_13 via pixabay.com

Thursday, February 2, 2023

Waxing Moon

Bitterly cold

Imbolc

Hop over to Gratitude and Growth for more on the garden.

Yesterday was kind of all over the place. I had a bunch of admin work to do in the morning. Then I did the social media rounds to promote Angel Hunt, Ink-Dipped Advice, The Process Muse posts, and the day’s #28Prompts.

I got an email from Barnes & Noble stating I had to update payment information for an upcoming order. Which I did. And they WOULDN’T – not couldn’t, but WOULDN’T, due to ‘security reasons’ —  connect the updated payment information to the order. I have never worked with a company where, once I updated payment information, the order wasn’t simply put through with the new payment info that’s now default on the account and that was that. I’ve done with every account I have, from the storage unit to Amazon to the webhost, because Greylock issued new debit cards last fall for no damned good reason, and no one has a problem. I put in the new information, it’s confirmed, it’s marked as “default” and then we’re good to go. They get their money; I get my order. Basic business. I argued back and forth with them for TWO HOURS, and they finally said the best they could do was to cancel the order and have me put It through again, with the new information. Which also meant additional shipping charges.

No, mofo. Your antiquated system that won’t update from my end and then you REFUSE to update it on your end is not my problem. Cancel the order and lose me as a customer.

I will put the order through elsewhere. It’s for books by a friend of mine, and I just told her I’d pre-ordered them ages ago (which I had). So I want the damn books.

But I won’t be ordering anything from B&N anytime soon (if ever). I’d used them as an alternative to Amazon (along with Bookshop.org), but now it’s Bookshop, even though I don’t like the shipping fees.

And there was my morning, lost, without the writing I needed to do on Legerdemain or anything else. Because they wouldn’t tie the updated credit card information on the online account to the actual order. I’d cancel the whole account, but there’s no function to do so.

I switched over to reading some pitches and scoring sheets. And then I remembered Spoutible launched today, so I went over to get that all set up. I pre-registered MONTHS ago, and don’t like that we didn’t get any immediate link launch information. Signing up/in was a pain in the butt, because the server kept crashing (people are excited to be there). Then they want to verify my phone number. Let me be very clear – NOTHING about 2-factor verification using the phone is about security. EVERYTHING is about collecting data. I resent having everything tied to the phone. I wouldn’t even have a phone if I could get away with it. And the authentication wouldn’t go through, it kept saying it “couldn’t verify” my phone number.

I was about to tell them to bite me, too, but then it went through and everything was settled.

The server is running slowly because so many people tried to sign up all at once (rolling the launch over a few weeks like Post did would probably have made things smoother).

So many people are raving about how good it is, and how similar to Twitter it is and I’m like, meh? Probably because of the initial crush, but it’s very hard to move between screens. For instance, if I search a topic, I then have to wipe it from the search bar after I’ve dealt with it, because going back to “timeline” only gives me the search results again, instead of the overall timeline feed. I’m hoping things will smooth out, but with all the hype, especially the way they were talking in the live session yesterday, I expected more.

But I’ll give it a chance. I’ve already found some old writer pals and made some new ones.

I also think it’s ballsy that Spoutible does so much of their admin on Twitter, when their goal is to get people to leave Twitter for them.

I managed to get the prompt for the day even up on Hive, although that was another way-too-much-wasted-time event.

But I’m telling you, I was In A Mood by the end of it all. Not in the mood to do the one short coverage I had, but it wasn’t due, so I put it off. I want to give the script and the writer  full focus and solid attention, not grumpy pants attention. I’ll go back to it today. Writers put their hearts and souls into the work, and I want to make sure to give every piece I read, whether it’s coverage reading or reviews or contest entries, a fair shake.

On a happier note, answers to the interview questions started to come in, and I have to make an appointment over at MassMOCA next week or so to get some background for the article.

I’m getting very excited about the article.

I found some interesting submission calls for plays that I sent off to a friend. There’s one, at a playhouse I know, that I might also send something in for. There was another one that interested me, but the deadline is today, and I’m not sure I have the right material for it. Some residency application deadlines hit my desk – and were due yesterday or today. I wish they’d let people know about them earlier.

I did a quick revision on one short play I thought would be good for one organization and got that in. So we’ll see. Nothing ventured, nothing gained. I still have time for the other.

I also signed up for the Dramatists’ Guild “End of Play” event in April. I will write one of the full-lengths I started developing in the workshop sponsored by Williamstown Theatre Festival last year.

I forgot to mention that, on Tuesday, I spent some quality time with the virtual alumni book group, talking about THE READING LIST, and it was a lot of fun. And a local theatre’s moved to a new space, inviting me to their open house at the end of the month. If the weather is okay, I think I will go.

Later in spring, I think we’ll do a day trip to Hobart, NY, which has a ton of second hand bookstores. A friend sent me an article about the place. It’s about two and a half hours away, which means it could be a reasonable day trip, when the weather is nicer.

The stores sound luscious.

I considered renting a place for a few days as a change of scenery to write, but honestly, if it’s not a residency with a private studio and meals provided, I might as well stay home and work, where I have my pots and pans and magic coffeemaker. Because if I have to do my own cooking in a different space (which, I admit, can be fun), I will be taking crates of equipment with me and spending more time in the kitchen than on my work. Especially since I’m not doing indoor dining yet.

I had the Black Screen of Death on the computer this morning, but managed to get it up and running. Told ya they hadn’t fixed it properly. How much do you want to bet it will have to go out again soon for repair?

Meditation this morning, then off to pay some bills before the weather turns too brutal. Then, I’ll spend some quality time on the page, finish off the coverage, and switch over to contest entries and the books for review. I’ll also do the social media rounds promoting today’s episode of Legerdemain, #28 Prompts, etc.

The Chewy delivery didn’t get here yesterday (which is fine, I always try to order early enough so it’s not a problem). The Midnight City Tarot is supposed to arrive tomorrow, and I’m very excited. I’m hoping to do some work later today with the Rackham Tarot on recent dreams, and I plan to set out and post a tarot spread for Imbolc.

I did some candle work last night, and today I will do the first planting.

Have a good one!

Wed. Feb. 1, 2023: Hello, February!

image courtesy of tlparadis via pixabay.com

Wednesday, February 1, 2023

Waxing Moon

Grey and cold, turned to sunny and colder

Yesterday’s weather was all over the place. One minute it was snowing, then it was sunny, then there were flurries coming down in the sun. Pretty, though. We’re supposed to get a wave of absolutely brutal cold Thursday night into Saturday night, and they’ve advised people not to be out. I cancelled my weekend plans, although I still hope to get out Sunday for a big grocery shop.

There’s a tough love post over on Ink-Dipped Advice about how to follow your dreams, and a post over on today’s Process Muse about plots and subplots. Check them out when you have a minute.

I drafted another episode of Legerdemain and figured out the next few episodes (within the context of the larger outline). I did the social media rounds promoting Episode 55. I uploaded/scheduled the promotions for this week’s episodes of Angel Hunt and adjusted the graphic sizes on the Legerdemain episodes for the Instagram posts.

I did my errands: drop-off/pick up at the library; coffee, eggs, and bread at the grocery store; a bottle of wine. The people I encounter on this regular round of errands are really very nice, and I’m grateful.

I was feeling tired and grumpy, though, anyway, although I made sure not to take anything out on the people I encountered on my errands.

I put through the Chewy order for cat litter.

I attended the pre-launch live Q&A for Spoutible on Twitter (which is just weird to me, but whatever). Some of their policies are creating red flags for me. We’ll see. It’s supposed to launch today.

I honed and tweaked interview questions for an article and sent them off. I’m looking forward to this piece.

I created a new logo for The Process Muse. This one feels more like me. I’ve even updated it in the sidebar for this blog!

I started writing up the notes/scenes on the Urban Fantasy romance and hit an issue with the character names. The names that I’ve been using have meanings contrary to themes in the story (because who the fuck knows what the plot is at this point). But when I tried to change the names, I got stuck. So I guess the names are the names, at least for now. Again, trust the subconscious. It knows what it’s doing, even when the rest of me doesn’t. However, writing scenes when there’s no plot to hang it onto is difficult. I think I’ll add notes in parentheses about vaguely what should happen and then, the character interactions that are clear in my head, I can write as scenes.

A fantastic opportunity showed up on my desk in the afternoon, but I don’t know if I can put something together to take advantage of it by February 12th. But it is totally in my wheelhouse and would be hella fun if I could pull it off. Plus lucrative. Plus good for my career.

Worked on contest entries yesterday afternoon and evening, since I didn’t have any script coverages. The cat litter order from Chewy should arrive today, and the Midnight City Tarot shipped and should be here by Friday.

The third episode of ANGEL HUNT drops today (the last free episode). I hope you enjoy it. I’ll be making the social media rounds today to promote that, to promote The Process Muse and Ink-Dipped Advice. I’ll also be doing the rounds to post the first of the #28Prompts (it will drop on Twitter at noon EST). I’m hoping I can upload them to Hive via the tablet, but who knows?

Fri. Jan. 27, 2023: Just Keep Typing

image courtesy StockSnap via pixabay.com

Friday, January 27, 2023

Waxing Moon

A little sun, a lot of clouds

Could that be a peek of sun, before the next storm comes in this weekend?

Meditation was good, and then I wrote 20 pages on the Heist Romance script. I did the entire section in Monte Carlo, and they’re back in Nice now. When I do break the script down into episodes (it’s definitely limited series, not a single screenplay), I think I’ve found the place to end the first episode in Monte Carlo. For this first script, I’m doing One Giant Overlong Script, and then I’ll break it down, once I see what I have, and structure each episode properly. As I write, I’ll keep an eye out for natural stopping points at the approximate page counts.

Not the way one is supposed to do it as a professional (write the pilot, don’t write more until it’s contracted), but it serves this piece better, so hey.

The second episode of Angel Hunt goes live today. I hope you enjoy it.

My lower back was in terrible pain yesterday, so bad I had to take something for it. Stretching helped a little. Figures downward dog, one of my least favorite asanas, is the one that helps the most.

I’m getting more and more frustrated with Twitter. Between one set of assholes just being right wing assholes, another set expecting us to do free administrative labor on their accounts (“tell me if I’m not following you” – no, mofo, look at your followers/following lists and  figure it out your damn self), and another set bullying (“if you follow X, I will unfollow you” – boo, just blocked ya, it’s all taken care of), I am getting sick of it. The same faux engagements questions showing up, over and over and OVER again. Numbnuts “sharing” snippets from an early draft and blowing first rights. Asking for resources, but really wanting perfect strangers to put themselves on the line to get you work when you have no intention of following through. No. Just stop. The other platforms have different focuses, depending on the platform, and there’s nothing, right now, with Twitter’s former reach.

But then, I also have to remind myself, I was on Twitter for 13 years, building community/a following. It’s not going to happen in two weeks anywhere else. I have to put in the work, which is just exhausting.

I managed to hop in for some of Freelance Chat, which was fine, and I did the social media rounds to promote yesterday’s episode of Legerdemain.

I turned around three coverages, and then read the two books for review. One was an absolute delight. The other had some good qualities, but the logic fell apart at the end. I will write up those reviews this morning, send them off, and invoice. I have a stack of scoring sheets, a pitch, and a treatment to read this afternoon. I really don’t want to read over the weekend; let’s hope something comes in for Monday and Tuesday, since Tuesday’s the end of this pay period.

I have a library run to do – plenty of books to drop off, and a stack’s come in since my visit earlier this week. But the priority is to find a place to get the car inspected and the bulb fixed. The bulb was Mercury Retrograde’s final middle finger in the shadow. Bad retrograde for all my tech, this time around.

And I need more ink for the printer, because of course I do. Black AND color.

Did some noodling notes on something in between projects yesterday. It’s turning out to be quite different than I expected from the initial idea (which is something I’ve played with on and  off for a couple of years, and couldn’t get to work). So we’ll see.

Back to the page.

Have a great weekend.

Thurs. Jan. 26, 2023: Grey Days

image courtesy of Lena Lindell via pixabay.com

Thursday, January 26, 2023

Waxing Moon

Gray and cold

I like to spell the color both ways: “grey” and “gray” depending on mood and contest. “Grey” fit me better today.

The latest garden post is up over on Gratitude and Growth.

Did the social media rounds early yesterday, promoting The Process Muse and the Angel Hunt launch. Now that I finally have the direct link to the serial, I can start uploading/scheduling each episode’s logline. And, since I’m using the same graphic, it makes things simpler. I updated the links on various webpages.

Went out early to mail some letters and grab some groceries before the next storm came in. One of my lamps is out on the car, which means I have to find a place to fix it before the inspection. Which has to happen by Jan. 31. Argh. But I grabbed a few things (how did I run out of onions, for crying out loud?) and made it back before the snow started up again.

Considered signing up for a six week yoga program at the library in Williamstown. It’s on Thursday mornings, which means soon after the Zoom meditation with the group at Concord Library was finished, I’d get in the car and drive over to Williamstown. Which is doable; it just means rearranging my Thursdays to write extra early in the morning before meditation, and Thursdays mornings are All About Me. I kind of liked that idea. But, investigating the details of it, there are no COVID protocols in place, and it’s happening inside in the winter.

Nope.

We’re being pressured by the script coverage company to “double our volume” this year. Okay, first of all, then pay me more. Second of all, I’m already reading 10-15 scripts/week when they are available, and if I try to read 30, I’ll burn out even faster than I am now. Third, if you want us to work full time, that means salary AND BENEFITS INCLUDING PAID VACATION AND HEALTH CARE. Working 40 hours a week for a single company without a stable salary or benefits would just make me an idiot.

I mean, I know all of the readers are just part of the sausage factory, but we bust our asses, and the pay gets lower, but the volume of work gets higher. So I’m upping the LOIs (especially in the break between retrogrades) to get a wider range of clients over the coming months.

Because I’m burning out on this, and increasing the pressure on me is only going to make me burn out faster.

Went down a research rabbit hole on abandoned towns for sale as background for a piece, and it was a lot of fun.

Turned around four coverages and scores on a pitch.

Should have started reading the next book for review; instead, I read a book for pleasure, WELL TRAVELED by Jen DeLuca, which takes place at a series of Ren Faires. Deborah Blake recommended it, and I’m glad she did. It’s lots of fun.

The cats slept all day during the snow, and then were up all night causing trouble. I had to get up several times in the night to scold them. Then, they tried to blame each other, even though I fully knew all three were involved in the various escapades.

Busy times in the Dreamscape. All good, but it’s starting to feel like I’m leading a double life, and I’m tired of waking up tired.

Meditation this morning, and then some writing. I need to work on the article, get some more work done on LEGERDEMAIN, I think I’m just about ready to write the next section of the Heist Romance script. Have to do the social media rounds to promote the episode that goes live today. I have three coverages to do this afternoon. Tomorrow are dribs and drabs of score sheets and pitches. I think that’s all I’ll take, so I have room to finish the books for review tonight and tomorrow, and try to find a place to get the car done. I also need to do some extra yoga today; my lower back is unhappy from the shoveling, and then the sitting and couch potato-ing from the last few days. I need to stretch out the kinks.

Not sure if I’ll do coverage this weekend or not; I have to see what comes in, and what my energy levels are like. I’m under where I want to be, money-wise (in spite of a higher “volume” this pay period), but I’m also tired. And I want to focus on my own work this weekend. And maybe get some extra sleep.

We’ll see how today and tomorrow go. In the meantime, I hope you’re having a good day, easing into a good weekend.

Enjoy the next episode of Legerdemain!

Wed. Jan. 25, 2023: ANGEL HUNT Launch Day

Wednesday, January 25, 2022

Waxing Moon

Virginia Woolf’s birthday

Burns Night

ANGEL HUNT:

ANGEL HUNT launches today, with new episodes dropping on Wednesdays and Fridays. The episodes are intentionally short, usually less than a thousand words. I hope you check it out and follow it. The first three episodes are free, so you can read for free until the middle of next week.

A witch.

An angel.

An impossible task.

A devil calls in a marker, forcing witch Lianna Maplethorpe to hunt a renegade angel. It gets even more complicated and dangerous when the renegade turns out to be Lianna’s own Guardian Angel, who she believed abandoned her. As magical conflicts escalate in 2004’s New York City between differing factions, deeper and darker magic than Lianna has ever faced force her to grow – or die.

Urban Fantasy set in a slightly alt-New York City, beginning in 2004.

Direct Link Here.

Back to the Regular Blog:

The newest Process Muse post, talking about “Mindful Work” is here.

Wrote the loglines for the new LEGERDEMAIN and ANGEL HUNT episodes. Did the social media rounds promoting yesterday’s episode of LEGERDEMAIN. Created a double graphic for LEGERDEMAIN/ANGEL HUNT.

I need to get #28Prompts uploaded and scheduled soon, too. February is just around the corner.

Dug my car out. It wasn’t fun, but not as bad as expected. And I didn’t clear out all the space between cars, either, because I’m tired of being the only one who ever does it. But I made a nice little bowl around the car, so that I can run some errands this morning, before the next storm comes in.

Put up the Valentine’s decoration on the front door. I like having something fun up on the front door all the time, and switching it out every month or so.

Turned around 5 coverages and one score sheet in the afternoon. One of the coverages is for one of the best pieces I’ve ever read anywhere. What a delight! I can’t give more details, because NDA.

Worked on contest entries.

They’re backing off on how much snow is coming in. I might not do errands today, and do them tomorrow and Friday instead, although I need to mail a few things and get eggs. I might tromp down to the mailbox at the end of the street and then hit up Cumberland Farms and see if they have any eggs.

Pulled myself out of a weird dream last night. It wasn’t bad, just busy, and I realized it was the third time I’d been in the same dream in the same sequence (three distinct parts). Once I pulled myself out, I realized I should have stayed in it, because if I’ve had the same exact dream three times in a row, my subconscious is trying to feed me information I’m not getting. Go figure.

Discouraged with all social media platforms right now. February will be dialed back somewhat, focusing on the promotion drops and the #28Prompts. Then I’ll reassess. But I need to get the Topic Workbook promos going again. When I do those properly, they sell steadily.

I also need to figure out how I’m going to do wider promotion (paid advertising) for both Legerdemain and Angel Hunt (once there are more AH episodes live). I’m putting together a giveaway package of Legerdemain, and will probably do a series of bookmarks for it that will be a more general giveaway. I have to figure out what kind of giveaway I could do for AH.

Creating the giveaways isn’t that hard. It’s getting the material and getting them made up. Without the laser printer, I’m struggling. I wanted to do transfers of the logos so I could put them on bags and tee shirts, but this little printer isn’t gonna cut it. Maybe I can get them done at a print shop.

I have to do research for the next section of the Heist Romance script. Some of it is on Monte Carlo, where it takes place. The rest is on old German books containing woodcuts. I know a little bit about German woodcuts, because it was one of the things my uncle the artist was known for (along with stained glass windows, carved altar triptychs, and giant bronze sculptures), but I still need to refresh my memory on some details.

Writing this morning, script coverage, article work, and contest entries this afternoon. And so it goes.

Hope you have a good one, and please check out Angel Hunt. The first three episodes are free!

Tues. Jan. 24, 2023: Digging Out

image courtesy of Richard Duijnstee via pixabay.com

Tuesday, January 24, 2023

Waxing Moon

No Retrogrades

Snowy and cold

Whew! Finally, we are done, for a brief shining moment with retrogrades, since Uranus went direct on Sunday the 22nd.

Which was also Chinese Lunar New Year, and we are now in the Year of the Water Rabbit.

Which is why tomorrow was chosen as the launch day for ANGEL HUNT.

Got all that?

Good. Now we can sit down for our usual Tuesday natter.

Friday seems oh, so very long away. It snowed all day. I did the section of the Heist Romance set in Kyle of Lochalsh, Scotland (yes, I’ve been there, too), back in London, and on the Eurostar to Paris. I spent about an hour and a half putting together a list of resources for a close friend of mine, who’s feeling stuck, and sent that off. Heard from a friend of a friend, who recently moved to the area and is now working at Williams College; we will get together when she feels more settled.

In the afternoon, I read both books for review, and then read for pleasure in the evening.

We got closer to 3 inches than six inches of snow overnight, but because of the constant freezing and snowing, digging out the car was not fun. But I did so, and got to the library to pick up the stack of 8 books waiting for me. So at least I have those in before the next storm.

The rest of the materials for the incomplete coverage arrived, so I read them and started the coverage. Did the usual Saturday chores, like changing the beds, etc. Made pasta with sausage for dinner.

Read Evelyn Salter’s memoir of her years working as Edith Sitwell’s secretary, which was very interesting, and relevant to one of the projects with which I’m noodling in longhand. And makes me want to read Evelyn Salter’s crime novels, which I’m having difficulty finding. Time to haul out WorldCat. Between the regional CW Mars network, the Commonwealth Catalog (all of the state), the ILL system of WorldCat, and the Gutenberg Project, I should be able to do it. I managed to finally find Alice Campbell’s JUGGERNAUT on Gutenberg, and order some of her other titles via Commonwealth Catalog. Her work was popular around the time of Agatha Christie’s work, though she was not as well known.

Speaking of Agatha Christie, I joined the reading challenge over on her website (run by her descendants). January’s title is SAD CYPRESS, which I haven’t reread in ages, so that will be fun.

Figured out how to plant a real clue and some red herrings in the section of the Heist Romance script set in Paris, and researched the neighborhood/architecture of the neighborhood where I want it to happen, so I can choreograph the action in a way that makes sense.

Up early on Sunday to make chocolate chip banana bread. The weather advisory shifted to up to 10 inches of snow falling between Sunday night and Monday evening.

So, instead of taking Sunday off, I finished the coverage and sent it off, wrote both book reviews and sent them off, and said I’d be ready for more, hoping the power would hold on Monday morning so I could download them and read them during the snow.

Wrote 16 pages on the Heist Romance screenplay, doing the Paris section, the train to Nice-Ville, and the train to Monte Carlo. Set up clues and red herrings.

Made spicy peanut noodles and dumplings for lunch, so we could celebrate Chinese Lunar New Year. I miss being included in family celebrations for this as I was during my Broadway days, working on shows like MISS SAIGON and FLOWER DRUM SONG.

Treated myself by reading the next Vicky Bliss book, TROJAN GOLD (I love that series so much), and working on contest entries.

It started snowing around dinnertime on Sunday, and snowed all day on Monday. I was glad I’d gotten everything out the door Sunday, although I got my next two books for review on Monday.

I also got a big stack of coverages to do today and tomorrow, for which I’m grateful, but it will keep me busy. Let’s hope the power holds.

I worked on The Process Muse post which drops tomorrow. I’m trying to keep the posts a little shorter than they’ve been thus far.

I polished, uploaded and scheduled the next four episodes of LEGERDEMAIN, which gets me through mid-February. I polished, uploaded, and scheduled the next eight episodes of ANGEL HUNT, which gets me through mid-April.

ANGEL HUNT goes live tomorrow, so I have to block off a few hours to promote, and to upload/schedule promotions on the first episodes, since Kindle Vella doesn’t give us the direct link to the serial until it goes live.

I have to write episode loglines for all 12 episodes, and do the graphics for the LEGERDEMAIN episodes.

Starting this week, people can read new episodes of mine Tuesdays through Fridays: LEGERDEMAIN episodes drop Tuesday and Thursday; ANGEL HUNT episodes drop Wednesday and Friday.

I went out to try and dig out the car once we hit 12 inches. It was still snowing, and I gave up after a bit; it was too difficult, and the plow had pushed large chunks of snow behind the car. I will try again today. We have another storm coming in tomorrow, although instead of the 8 inches predicted, now they’re only saying 4.

One of the few things I miss about living on Cape is the garage.

Worked on contest entries. Got some other reading done.

Chef Jeremy did a fundraising class for No Kid Hungry; I couldn’t attend the session (even though it was on Zoom), but I made a donation.

Frustrating when the premise is excellent, most of the writing is strong, and the protagonist is an idiot one wishes was the next murder victim.

Listened to the HADESTOWN cast album last night. It’s one of my favorite scores, and one of the shows I wish I’d had a chance to work on before I left working backstage.

Busy night in the Dreamscape. Nothing bad, just busy. Work up tired and grumpy. I have a feeling a good portion of the grumps is because I know I have to shovel out the car later, before the next storm hits. The very thought of it is exhausting.

And, somewhere between all the storms, I have to get the car inspected.

I plan to get some drafting done on the next LEGERDEMAIN episodes this morning, and maybe a few pages on the Heist Romance screenplay, before digging out the car and switching to script coverage. I’m grateful for the work, but I’m tired.

Have a good one! Enjoy today’s LEGERDEMAIN episode!

Fri. Jan. 20, 2023: Snow’s Here!

image courtesy of  Jörg Vieli via pixabay.com

Friday, January 20, 2023

Dark Moon

Uranus Retrograde

Snowy and cold

Yesterday was a good, if somewhat weird day.

After meditation, I sat down to layer in what I’d come up with in the Heist Romance script to make it more interesting. I usually push through a draft, but I needed to set up a few things to pay off further down the line, and because of the somewhat episodic nature of the piece, building each section properly is important.

Also, this is the opening. It needs to hook the reader/viewer immediately. How often have I received scripts to cover where the instructions were to only read the first page, the question was “does this first page make you want to read more?” and my answer was “No.” In the last few weeks, more often than not. I don’t want to fall into the same trap. And that’s something that’s come up a lot in the discussions I’ve had lately with fellow scriptwriters, analysts, and show runners – the best scripts capture the reader from the first page. If you need more than a page to “set it up” you need to go back and rewrite.

I got it where I wanted it, fixed the first six pages, established two more characters necessary for the rest of the piece. However, when I revised those first six pages, I kept going. By the time I hit a good stopping point, I was 27 pages in. I’d finished the section in New York, done the first section in London, and am ready to send one of my pair of central protagonists to Scotland (I still have to write a section in the British Museum Library reading room before he heads off).

I figured I’d worked for about an hour, until I looked at the clock.

I’d worked four hours.

It felt like nothing, although I was physically tired. It’s not as though the pages don’t need work, but it’s a solid foundation.

I turned around four script coverages in the afternoon, and a quick scoring sheet. There was nothing in the queue to grab, but overnight the missing materials from a script earlier in the week came through, so I will work on that today. And consider the rest of the time a gift.

I didn’t make the social media rounds yesterday to promote Legerdemain (I’m so grateful to the friends who saw the promotional graphics drop and boosted them). So I have to catch up on that today.

When I first woke up, it was barely snowing, and I thought I could do a library run to pick up the big stack of books that finally showed up. But the snow is intensifying, so I think I will just stay put, and hope I can dash out between storms tomorrow. We’re supposed to get 6 inches between now and tomorrow morning, and another storm coming through Sunday into Monday, and another midweek. Winter in New England.

 I do have to create the graphics for the next 4 episodes of Legerdemain and get them uploaded and scheduled. I did the loglines yesterday.

I want to do a little more on the Heist Romance, since it’s running hot in my brain, and then switch over to Legerdemain, and maybe upload some more ANGEL HUNT episodes (although I might leave that until tomorrow). I also want to get a jump on the next couple of weeks’ worth of The Process Muse.

Have a great weekend, and we’ll catch up next week.

Published in: on January 20, 2023 at 8:07 am  Leave a Comment  
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Wed. Jan. 18, 2023: Trying to Move Past the Lethargy

image courtesy of David Mark via pixabay.com of a painting by Franz Winterhalter

Wednesday, January 18, 2023

Waning Moon

Uranus Retrograde

Mercury goes Direct today

Rainy and cold

The week’s post is up on The Process Muse, and it’s about building the ensemble. It was hard to write, and it still wasn’t where I wanted it when I ran out of time. But it’s there. I have to finish the Ink-Dipped Advice post and get that up this morning.

Because it was sunny, once I got The Process Muse post up, I pulled myself together and did the errands: library drop-off/pickup, pharmacy, grocery store, liquor store. People were cheerful for a brief respite of sun in between storms, and soon after I got home, the sky darkened, and it began to rain again. I bought two small pots of primroses, which made me happy.

Home, got everything unpacked, realized I forgot to get potatoes and orange juice, so I guess I’ll be going out later this week again. Finished the book I’d been reading the previous day. It’s pleasing the writer’s fanbase, but it’s a little too formula for me, in spite of being a page turner. I respect what she’s done, but some of her other books have had a much stronger impact, both for pleasure and in engaging my emotions.

Turned around two scripts and some scoring. One is missing materials, so I can’t finish the coverage and submit until I get the missing material, or am told not to worry about it.

Did the social media rounds to promote Episode 51 of Legerdemain.

I’m spending less and less time on Twitter, because it just makes me sad. The feeds are all screwed up. I’m tired of people whining about the feeds being screwed up and demanding everyone else provide free administrative labor on their timelines. Do your own damn work. If you have “too many followers” to be able to deal with it, maybe you haven’t earned them. I have my hands full adminisrating my own feed. I’m not working on other people’s because they think they’re so important. There are also too many right-wing trolls. My time is better spent elsewhere.

I’m skipping spending time on Cohost until February, when I’ll put up, daily, the #28Prompt posts. And then I’ll probably stop spending any time there. Tried navigating Hive on my poor old tablet (which now has a cracked face) and it’s just so frustrating.

I did not work on any of the scripts, because everything else took too long. Nor did I draft on Legerdemain or adapt any of ANGEL HUNT. Which is frustrating. I was logy and frustrated all day.

Started the next book for review. The premise is interesting, but so far, I’m less than thrilled with the execution. Put it aside to read a book for fun, the second in a series by an author I like, and it’s fine, but I couldn’t concentrate at that point, because I was too tired.

Fell into bed, tired. Slept decently, but was busy in the Dreamscape, everything from attending a writer’s conference to redecorating a house, so I woke up tired. Well, Tessa and Charlotte woke me up, once the coffee started burbling.

Wrote a couple of pages in longhand on a project, and then came up with a working title for the piece whose outline I started (eleven pages’ worth) on Saturday. Went down a fun research rabbit hole about women writing speculative and science fiction in the so-called “golden age.”

We’re under all kinds of weather alerts today, it will switch between snow and rain, although we don’t get much accumulation until tomorrow, where 3-6 inches are predicted. I’m hoping I can sneak out between the switch tomorrow morning to get potatoes and orange juice.

Today, I have to shake off the lethargy and focus. I have a lot on the agenda, both for myself, and script coverages.

I’m glad Mercury is going direct today, but the transition day is always a slog for me. Plus, tomorrow is the day before dark moon, always a low energy day. Still, needs must, and I needs must get my act together and get to work.

Have a good one!

Tues. Jan. 17, 2022: When A Project Takes Control

image courtesy of M. H. via pixabay.com

Tuesday, January 17, 2023

Waning Moon

Uranus and Mars Retrograde

Sunny and cold

Time for our usual Tuesday morning catch up. The mid-month check-in is not yet up on the GDR site, but I hope to get that done later today.

Friday was pretty much a lost day. I did some blog work in the morning, made the social media rounds, and then headed out for the usual errands: post office, library, grocery store.

I didn’t realize how bad I felt until I was out and about.

Got things done, came home, unpacked, tidied up the living room (which involved rearranging stacks of books for various projects, and I wound up with a book fort).

I decided to give myself the day off and stayed in the book fort.

I noodled a little in long hand on an idea that started percolating a couple of days ago, and wrote a few outline notes.

I wrote up the two reviews, turned them in, and received my next books for review.

I finished reading THE READING LIST, which I really liked, and I’m looking forward to discussing it in book group.

Started reading another book that was recommended to me, but it was in present tense and lost me at the end of page one, so back to the library it goes, unread.

We were well enough to eat a decent dinner, and relax in the evening, reading and listening to Chantal Chamberland.

Slept reasonably well Friday into Saturday, although I had weird dreams. It was snowing again on Saturday morning (this after the weather reports said Saturday would be a “bright” day and the best of the weekend). Did the usual household chores.

Wrote about 12 pages on the outline I started the previous day. I know what has to happen for the last bit, but I’m not sure how to get there, so that will back burner percolate for a bit.

Roughed out ideas for two future “seasons” of ANGEL HUNT, if this one goes well, although the plot will be tighter and less sprawling. The seeds for both are set in ANGEL HUNT, although that was not my original intention. But we’ll see if it’s worth getting them past “idea” stage.

The damn new little printer wasn’t working properly, and I was ready to drop kick it out the window. I know better than to buy anything Canon anymore, be it a camera or a printer. They used to be a good company, but haven’t been for at least ten years now.

I want my big printer to work again.

Okay, whine over.

I set up the folders for the judging sheets in the three categories I’m judging, and put the correct sheets in the correct folders. I use paper sheets as I read, and then as I finish each book or a few books, I enter the data. It saves work rather than trying to enter all the scoring at the end. This way, I can finish the Batch 1 print in each category, then Batch 1 digital in each category, hopefully before Batch 2 gets there, and then I just have the final decisions to make, once I’ve read and entered Batch 2. I keep the Yes and Maybe piles on the worktable in my office for final decisions, and keep winnowing them down as I go. If it’s digital, I keep the physical sheet in the pile, so I can refer back to it when it’s time to make decisions.

I turned around a script, and started work on contest entries.

Sunday, I was up early, enjoying coffee, cats, and writing in longhand. Made biscuits. Had some sad news from a friend that a friend of hers, with whom I worked, has died of COVID. An online acquaintance is going through a rough time; I’m trying to be supportive, but also wondering if we’re being manipulated. That’s always the risk, when you only know someone online. Still, kindness from afar costs nothing, and can make a big difference.

Had to write a new Episode 56 for Legerdemain, because I needed to plant a character in a specific location to set up a plot intersection, and it needs to happen here. So the next set of episodes is misnumbered in the 1st draft now, and I’ll have to be careful drafting and editing forward. But I fixed a plot hole I knew was coming up, and set up a good intersection, even though it won’t happen for a few episodes. Polished and uploaded the episodes, which gets me into the beginning of February. Writing ahead on the first draft while polishing the second to upload requires intense concentration and specificity. I am grateful for my Tracking Sheets, Style Sheets, and the Series Bible, and I am diligent about adding in new information as soon as it’s created, and then changing it if it changes in the edits.

That process is different than with a series of novels, where I have tracking sheets as I write, but I don’t update the Series Bible until the final galleys are done on the book.

Had to put in more ink in the little printer, because, of course I did.

Turned around some script scoring. The pay for that is insulting, but that’s all that was in the queue, and the pay period ended on Sunday, so there we are.

Yeah, I’m getting on top of the LOIs and the direct mail as soon as Mercury goes direct this week.

Finished reading SILHOUETTE IN SCARLET, the Vicky Bliss mystery, and loved it. It got me thinking about some tropes I want to turn inside out. I ended up staying up until 11:30 writing 11 pages of a script outline in longhand.

Yesterday morning, I wrote another 9 pages, and then typed it up. Basically, the whole day was on this outline, which is really more of a treatment. I think it will be a limited series script, not a single screenplay. And there’s research to be done, and some beats to be fleshed out, even beyond the 10K of this outline. But it’s fun. And because each section needs a different type of research, it will be worked on piecemeal around other projects. I’ll reward myself for finishing work on other projects by doing a section of this piece here and there.

I have scripts in my queue for the next few days, too, so although I’m worried about the small amount of money from the pay period ending on Sunday, I’m hoping this pay period will be better. And I have to get off my duff and pitch for some new gigs.

I turned around two coverages. I was too tired for soup class. I wrote the opening 6 pages of the script on the treatment I’d written. It’s doing what I want it to, at least for this draft, although there will be a lot of cutting and layering in future drafts. I don’t yet have a title for it. For myself, I’m referring to it as the “Heist Romance” script.

It was very difficult to pull myself out of that fictional world (even though some of the settings are places I know very well). I felt disoriented and out of place.

I should have started the next book for review or worked on contract entries. Instead, I started reading a book by an author who’s work I’ve read for years. Her new book is the first of a new series. It’s still a little too predictable, formula-wise (but that’s what her readers want) and I keep getting too far ahead, but I like the central pair of protagonists, so it was worth staying up until 11:30 reading (I hope to finish it today).

I overslept this morning, and Tessa Was Not Amused. I fed everyone and settled down to write in longhand for a bit. Still felt disoriented, and a bit addled. My brain is already rewriting those initial six pages, and I took the red pen and marked up what I printed out.

The priority this morning needs to be the post for tomorrow’s Process Muse. I started it a few days ago, and then got distracted, so I have to get back to it. I need to draft another episode of Legerdemain, adapt another chapter of ANGEL HUNT, and maybe upload the next month’s worth of episodes. I have to create the graphics for the four episodes of Legerdemain I uploaded on Sunday, and draft tomorrow’s Ink-Dipped Advice post. The two posts for tomorrow were supposed to be on yesterday’s work schedule, but the Heist Romance pushed everything else to the side. I don’t regret spending the whole day on it at all, but it means reshuffling the rest of the week’s work. And the other script, that I started a couple of weeks ago, with the working title LUCKY NUMBERS, is standing there, tapping its inky foot, demanding attention. Since I figured out how to get out of the corner into which I’d written myself, I can do so. The question is when? I don’t want to lose its rhythm, or get its rhythm diluted by the Heist Romance.

I have errands I planned to do on Thursday, but we’re supposed to get the 3-6 inches of snow on Thursday that everyone else got the past couple of days. Today is bright and sunny. The SMART move would be to do all the errands today, and then hunker in the rest of the week, and push off some of today’s work to tomorrow. If I do that, I’ll wind up only working on the two blog posts (and the GDR post) and turning around the two scripts in my queue for today.

I like the flexibility of my schedule, but it also calls for prioritizing and rearranging tasks and making decisions, and today, my brain is filled with mashed potatoes, so that is not an easy task. Perhaps the errands will help clear it.

I’m talking in circles now. I’m going to stop yammering and get to work.

Episode 51 of Legerdemain drops today. Hope you enjoy it.

Have a good one.

Fri. Jan. 13, 2022: A Slow, Rainy Start

image courtesy of ini kvaratskhelia via pixabay.com

Friday, January 13, 2023

Waning Moon

Uranus and Mercury Retrograde

Chilly rain

I love Friday the 13th, so I’m looking forward to the day.

And my friend Paula’s play is being read tonight by a theatre company down in Florida. Woo-hoo! It’s a terrific play, and I’m delighted for her.

Yesterday wound up being more of a practical day than a creative day. I got some blogging done. I attended the online meditation group. I did some tidying up on the desk. I worked drafting some future blog posts.

I did the rounds promoting Episode 50 of LEGERDEMAIN, and uploading/scheduling the graphics for next week’s episodes. The teasers for ANGEL HUNT are also starting to drop, so I dealt with those, too. I cleaned up the additional pages on this blog, did some cleanup on the Legerdemain website, and polished the #28Prompts, which will run in February.

I also did a media kit for LEGERDEMAIN, and I’m happy with the way it came out. I got to use some of my favorite general graphics along with a set of thumbnails from episode-specific graphics, and present the information about the series. I kept the bio very simple and might beef that up a bit. I did not put in an excerpt from the first episode, because the first three episodes are free and available to everyone. I’m wondering if I should at least put in the opening paragraphs, which carry the hook.

I made some notes on an idea. It needs to percolate more. I have the characters and the basic situation, but that’s not enough. That’s been pushed into another section of the brain to work on a low boil.

A box came from a friend, with knitted lovelies, a citrine, tea, lip balm, and chocolate truffles. The perfect care package for a snowy winter day.

I finished reading a colleague’s book, and I finished reading the book for review. I have two reviews to get out later today, and tell my editor I’m ready for the next assignment.

I started reading THE READING LIST by Sara Nisha Adams, for the NYU Alumni Book Club. It’s quite wonderful. It’s even more fun, because it lets me revisit books I’ve read and enjoyed (I’ve read all the books mentioned in the novel).

Both of us were up sick most of the night. Not ordering takeout from THAT place again anytime soon, are we? The cats were good little nurses. I feel rather hollow and tired this morning.

Another idea started bubbling up. I’m making some notes, but there are some obstacles to the story, so once I make the notes, they need to go to an even further back burner.

I have a script in today’s queue, which I will read this afternoon. I hope some more will come in over the weekend; even though I try not to do script coverage on weekends, there’s been so little coming in lately that if it shows up, I’ll read it. I also have to start on the contest entries. I don’t want to get behind. I know I have a stack of blank scoring sheets left over from last year. Somewhere.

I need to get to the library. A stack of books has finally come in. Some of them are research books that will serve two projects on the boil. I also have to mail some bills, and get in a few groceries. We’ll do some easy things this weekend, until we get back on our feet. I’m hoping I can find a decent chicken, and do a gentle roast chicken.

The weather is supposed to be nasty, on and off, next week, so I’m glad I work at home. I’m going to try to get some writing in on LEGERDEMAIN and ANGEL HUNT today, but I have a feeling I might put it off until tomorrow. By the end of the weekend or first thing Monday, I’ll be able to upload and schedule another two weeks’ worth of LEGERDEMAIN and another month’s worth of ANGEL HUNT.

 The next section of LEGERDEMAIN going up is in decent shape, it’s mostly cleaning up sloppy writing. But the logic and the narraive drive of the story are there. The following section is a more intimate and sadder one that I want to take another look at before I upload it. The piece I’m working on now is driving the main arc forward, and I need to get way ahead on that before I can go back to polish and upload it, because there are things later on I might need to plant in episodes coming up soon.

This next section of ANGEL HUNT needs a good bit of revision, but I figured it out, tossing and turning in discomfort last night. But I have to be on my game to actually write it. Knowing what needs to be done is a good half the battle.

It’s already late, and I need to head out soon. I’m just going to take it slow today, and listen to what my body needs.

Have a good weekend, my friends, and I’ll catch up with you on the other side of it.

Thurs. Jan. 12, 2023: Unexpected Snow Day

image courtesy of  Kati via pixabay.com

Thursday, January 12, 2023

Waning Moon

Uranus and Mercury Retrograde

Mars Direct (but still in Gemini)

Snowy and cold

Huh. We were supposed to get a storm coming through with rain tonight. Instead, I woke up to snow. Oh, well. Life in the Northeastern Mountains, right?

Garden post is up over on Gratitude and Growth.

Decent writing day yesterday. Although I only got 500 or so words on the novel in longhand, I drafted the next episode of LEGERDEMAIN and adapted the next chapter of ANGEL HUNT into five serial episodes.

I did the rounds on social media, promoting the latest Process Muse post, and spending time on the sites designated for that day. There are two sites I’m pretty sure I’m going to drop soon. I spent some time on Bookbub. Since they don’t allow us to list our serials in our booklist, I put the serials in my bio.

A book arrived for review, and it’s lovely, so lovely. Such beautiful design elements. I’m excited to get into the text. Read half of another book for review. It’s perfectly serviceable for the genre, but lacks sparkle.

Switched to reading some books for pleasure. One of them (I’m not sure how I ended up with it) is just awful. Everything in it is so completely disconnected from each other and a flat trope that I suspect it was run through AI. If I’d paid for the book, I would be angry, but I seem to remember it was sent to me free.

Read most of another book by an author whose work I know well over years. It was trying to fit a market niche, but she’s too much herself to be niche-restricted, and I could see where she was fighting the expectations. I mean, I enjoy it, but other books, where she can just let it rip, work better for me. And for her, since she doesn’t plan on continuing with the series.

Slept well, for once, although woke up after some weird dreams. But I woke up to coffee and snow, so it’s all good. I’ll put off my errands until tomorrow. There’s nothing urgent for today.

In my morning noodling session, suddenly and idea I’d played with off and on since last summer started coming into focus. I took a few notes. It will be a bit down the schedule before I can actually work on it. The idea was prompted by a submission call. I couldn’t make it work within the guidelines within the time frame, but I liked the idea, and hoped I could figure out what to do with it. I think I have, in a format with which I want to play more anyway. I’m playing with some character and plot notes, and then I’ll have to see how it fits into the structure and adjust.

I missed working on the other piece on which I usually work in longhand in the morning, so I may sneak in a few pages later today, between other bits and bobs.

Meditation this morning, then more LEGERDEMAIN, more ANGEL HUNT, making the rounds to promote today’s new episode of LEGERDEMAIN, the start of promotion for ANGEL HUNT, work on the article, finishing up books for review. Still no scripts in the queue, which is a worry, so I’ll also get out some LOIs.

I need to work on the direct marketing post card this weekend and get it to the printer (since my big printer is out of commission, and it would look awful on the inkjet).

I love watching the snow come down. I love even more that it gives me an excuse not to go out!

Have a good one, my friends!

Published in: on January 12, 2023 at 8:08 am  Comments (4)  
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Wed. Jan. 11, 2023: Steady Progress

image courtesy of Piyapong Saydaung via pixabay.com

Wednesday, January 11, 2023

Waning Moon

Uranus, Mars, Mercury Retrograde

Cloudy and cold

Over on The Process Muse today, I talk about “Getting Back on Track” with my writing.

With Mars stationary, preparing to go direct tomorrow, it’s like wading through molasses while furious. Not fun, and I constantly remind myself that reacting rather taking a breath and a step back is an unwise choice right now.

As I mentioned in yesterday’s post, I did about 1K in longhand while at the laundromat. After breakfast/putting everything away, I drafted another episode of LEGERDEMAIN. A character who was supposed to be rather one-dimensional and start as a comic red herring is turning into someone more complicated. I guess that’s a good thing, fully developed characters are always a better choice, but I have to make sure this character still works, in the plot, the way I need him to.

I adapted another chapter of ANGEL HUNT into four episodes. I then “created” the story on Kindle Vella, uploaded the series logo and the blurb, and polished, uploaded, and scheduled the first 16 episodes, which gets me through St. Patrick’s Day in March. I updated the Episode Tracking Sheets as I went, to make sure I know what’s going out when. I wrote the episode log lines.

But the more I think about it, the stronger the instinct NOT to do episode-specific graphics. LEGERDEMAIN episodes drop on Tuesdays and Thursdays, with episode-specific graphics. ANGEL HUNT episodes will drop Wednesdays and Fridays. The series logo is striking. I’m worried that too many different graphics will get confusing to potential readers. The episodes are short, by intent. Few are over 1K words. The narrative drive of this piece is narrower, without the sprawl that makes all those LEGERDEMAIN graphics both necessary and fun.  Individual graphics don’t make sense, unless I was good enough to draw original art, or rich enough to commission an artist. The style of graphic that’s been working for LEGERDEMAIN won’t work for ANGEL HUNT, and, frankly, along with not having it in the budget to fairly pay an artist, I’ve left it too late to commission. I would like to get ahead on promotion, but Kindle Vella doesn’t give me the link until the story goes live on launch day. They really sabotage their authors, between not allowing gift cards used as tokens, or allowing authors to put tokens in giveaway packages, or allow authors to put the serials on their author pages. I don’t think BookBub allows the serials on their author pages either, which is annoying. I know it’s because Amazon wants authors to buy ads on the Amazon platform, but I mean, come on, give us some support over here.

At least for the first few months, I’m going to continue with episode-specific graphics for LEGERDEMAIN (along with increasing the general graphics, as I expand the website), but use a consistent graphic for ANGEL HUNT. It’ll give me a chance to compare promotional styles, although the two serials are a bit of apples and oranges.

By the end of the day, I was exhausted, with a blasting headache from it all.

I didn’t work on the script, although I was trying to figure out how to write myself out of this corner. Then, I realized, that I really don’t need to. This is a first draft, and I plan to cut the scene anyway in the next draft. I can make a note to that effect in the “Action” line and just move on. Duh.

I finished reading a book by a new-to-me author, recommended to me by an author colleague I like and respect. The book understands the genre and puts interesting twists on it, although I did manage to get ahead of the plot a few times, and had to wait for the characters to catch up. I like the writing. But then, a minor character used the term “witch” as a derogatory against other women, and I felt slapped in the face. This author, particularly, knows better. I was also a little thrown because the flap copy has incorrect character names. In other words, I’m on the fence about whether or not to read any other books by this particular author. I may try the first book of one of the other series, and see if I encounter the same type of issues.

No scripts in the queue, which has me worried, but I have books to review and will get on the stick about that. Plus contest entries, which I need to start. And I’m behind in reading the book for NYU’s virtual book club.

I did the social media rounds to promote the episode of LEGERDEMAIN that went live yesterday. I’m definitely seeing where I want to scale back on some of the platforms over the coming weeks.

An “offer” landed in my inbox to ghostwrite. $15 for 1500 words, minimum requirement 10 chapters per week (meaning 15,000 words). Yeah, no. Not worth it to work on someone else’s ideas for so little money. If I’m going to write 3K a day for someone else, it’s not going to be for a penny a word.

Slept reasonably well, woke up to coffee. Only got about 500 words done in longhand. I’d lost the thread of that particular story, getting wound up in the other stories on which I worked yesterday. By the time I got back into it, the time I had to work on it was up.

The morning plan is to take some Excedrin for my headache, draft another episode of Legerdemain, adapt another chapter of ANGEL HUNT to serial (it’s so weird, going from serial to chapter back to serial format), promote the new post on The Process Muse, work on my article, hopefully get some scripts in my queue, work on the next book for review, start contest entries. I’d like to work a little ahead on Process Muse and Ink-Dipped Advice, too, but that may get pushed off until the weekend.

Next week, I have to look at the short stories that do not have a home and the plays, and decide where to submit. I need everything out the door by early March (I will wait to start submissions until Mercury goes direct). I looked at my submission and pitch logs for 2022, and I was lax. Time to make up for it this year. If it’s not out there, it can’t find the right match.

What’s on your agenda today?